Medical News–not much of it is pretty good

Suddenly, it’s been two months since my last cancer blog. No news is good news! I had a CT scan on Friday which I’ll learn about in 2 weeks, and my tumour marker keeps going down. I had a heart ultrasound last week and my heart looks great. My favourite side-effect, weight loss, continues steadily. After dropping 6 pounds in January, my oncologist actually asked me “are you eating enough?” If you made a ranked list of least-likely questions for me ever to receive from a doctor or any other medical professional, “are you eating enough?” would be firmly at the top. For the record: I am eating enough.

Other side effects are more or less stable. The one most on my mind is sleep. Being on sabbatical, I have had the opportunity to sleep as much as I want/need, and I am logging a lot of hours unconscious. I used to be a 7.5-8 hours a night kind of person (sometimes more if I needed to catch up). Now I’m more like 9-11. I’m not sure I could sustain an 11-hour a night routine while teaching, and it starts to feel like I’m “losing time” for either work or leisure when sleeping for 11 hours (which means I’m in bed for like 12, since I like to read before falling asleep). I asked the doctor about it and he just said to enjoy it for now, and figure out what I need to do when I’m back in the classroom in the fall. I have had to get up to an alarm some days and so far that’s been ok. I’m also not often hitting an energy wall at night like I did sometimes in the fall term, probably because I’m sleeping as much as I want and not pushing it the rest of the time. The one exception was a conference in Ottawa, where I tried to attend everything and my body rebelled during the penultimate panel.

I am writing this from the airport, as I’m heading to New York City for the week to be at the AI Now Institute. So that will be a test for 5 days.

My hands and feet have their good and bad days but for the last few months they have been moving within a predictable range. With gloves, I’ve been able to play music enough to satisfy and without great pain. For the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve also been spending a lot of time recording other people doing vocal overdubs (and some guitars) which is a nice, totally painless way to be musical.

Digestion continues to be an adventure. Sometimes everything is fine, sometimes, everything is not, and it’s kind of hard to predict, except that I should pretty much always stop eating by 8:30pm. I lose about half a day a week to something going wrong, give or take. I’ve got a suite of drugs for every contingency, and am not shy about using them. I drink those little probiotic shots in the morning every day now. I have no idea if they actually help but I like to imagine that they do. I am tempted to get into more detail here, but I’ll leave it at this for now.

My mood remains surprisingly good. I’m sure being on sabbatical helps.